It really does take a village to raise a kid, an idea that was brought to light in the most touching way after a Twitter user named Jonathan Torrens shared a story from his childhood. Losing a parent is exceedingly difficult, especially at a young age. Kids crave attention, love, and guidance from their parents, something they’re reminded of time and time again as they watch their peers with their own parents.
At the age of 8, Jonathan Torrens experienced a kid’s worst nightmare – the loss of his dad. Though nothing can ever fill the void of a parent you’ve lost, dads who knew Jonathan through hockey began to step up. Quietly, subtly, not drawing attention to the little boy who didn’t have a dad to help him tie his skates, the fathers of his peers helped Jonathan feel a little less alone. No pity, just kindness.
“My dad died when I was 8,” Jonathan wrote in his post. “Every week a few of the dads on my hockey team would offer to tie my skates. Not in a big showy way, in a quiet kind way. They filled the gap. Find a way to fill the gap for someone. It’ll make you both better.”
My dad died when I was 8. Every week a few of the dads on my hockey team would offer to tie my skates. Not in a big showy way, in a quiet kind way. They filled the gap. Find a way to fill the gap for someone. It’ll make you both better.
— Jonathan Torrens (@TorrensJonathan) March 16, 2021
Jonathan’s touching story and call to action gained the attention of people around the world, inspiring others to share stories of their own.
There was the uncle who fully embraced the role of hockey parent for his nephew
My uncle did the same for me. Taped my sticks, made the early morning drives to the rink, watched the games. Just so I had someone there. His name was Arthur Jensen and I miss him to this day.
— Robin Brownlee (@Robin_Brownlee) March 16, 2021
The Zamboni driver turned coach who made sure no kid was left behind
I lost my Dad when I was 11 – he was the coach of my team. Believe it or not the guy that used to run the Zamboni and scoreboard took over. He used to let me watch my brothers games after from the booth and hit the goal horn & buzzers.
— Liam Ward (@liamcward) March 16, 2021
The couple who took “friends forever” extremely seriously
My Dad died when I was 8 too. One of my Dad’s best friends taught me to skate. He and his wife were very good friends and kept in constant touch with us-they did not dump us after my Dad died as many did.
— Shelley Nelson (@Shellbran3) March 16, 2021
Fairy godmothers giving Disney a run for their money
My Mom died when I was 17, a month before prom. My three fairy god mothers stepped in and made the dress my Mom had planned to make me on a day while I was at my part-time job at Wendy’s. The impact of that day will be life-long.
— Rachel Ogilvie (@RachelLOgilvie) March 16, 2021
A father figure who knew exactly what role he needed to fill
When my granddad died, I lost the only father figure who was a constant to me. I never thought I’d open up again. But in came a man who loved my mother as she should be loved and he didn’t try to invade my life. he was just… there, quietly, and still is whenever I need him❤️ https://t.co/xsvDD9gBS2
— 🤍 𝙖𝙗𝙨 | 𝔰𝔱𝔲𝔭𝔦𝔡 𝔪𝔢𝔞𝔱𝔟𝔞𝔩𝔩 (@alrightabigail) March 21, 2021
A neighbor overflowing with generosity in more ways than one
My mom left when I was 12. The refined society lady down the block sent her kids off to do things on Friday afternoons so I wouldn’t feel ashamed of our weekly cooking lessons. She taught me the basics of sauces and then sent me home with a meal for my siblings and I (#daddrank)
— Colleen (@Tangledmoon) March 16, 2021
The whole village showing up to do their part
My mom went missing when I was 6 (she was on Unsolved Mysteries), and I grew up with just my dad and my brother. So many aunts, friends’ moms, even my brother’s friend’s mom took me under their wing and helped me figure out how to fix my hair and other girl stuff I didn’t know
— amberkittie (@amberkittie) March 17, 2021
Hockey dads filling the gap for another kid in need
Funny – I was 10 and that is the exact thing I remember too about my skates. A few of the dads offering a little help to fill that gap.
— Tom Charuk (@tomcharuk) March 16, 2021
Dads so kind even the nuns were impressed
Some signed up as their daughter’s Dad, rather than their own name, so their daughters brought them to her to be introduced. We were so jealous! The Holy Nuns were impressed, too.
— Mary-Denise Smith (@CrumbsnRubble) March 16, 2021
Jonathan’s story and the moving thread that followed is a reminder that no gesture is too small to make a difference. Every dad knows that being a parent doesn’t stop with your own kids – once you’re a dad, you’re a dad for life. Maybe that means you respond to “I’m tired” with “hi tired, I’m dad” no matter who says it. Or maybe, being a dad means that you know when a kid, any kid, needs one.